tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 3, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
david dunby, the new yorker. more trash talk from trenton. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this wild weekend we just saw in trenton. what possessed the christie team to put out a memo trashing the man he, the governor personally appointed to the new york port authority. why did he get so down in the mud to go after the man's behavior back in high school days, yes, high school. if the governor was out to prove himself a bully, this would be, let's face it, the way to go. if he were out to show he knows how to intimidate an adversary, go back to his teen years.
show you got stuff on him. show you're ready as hell to get down in the mud with him. that's what governor christie did this weekend in what has all the earmarks of being a desperate effort to save his own skin, the governor is out ripping the bark off his very appointee at the bridge authority. if you only have one public personality to show, governor, let me advise you. why on earth are you showing this one. this thing is getting dirty out there. howard fineman with "the huffington post." and kendall coffey. first of all, he trashes the times. he trashes everybody. but most importantly, his office, you never know what the office is. he i assume approved this put out a statement trashing david wildstein, the very guy he put on the bridge authority. he gave the big job, apparently created the job for. now he says the guy is a sleaze ball, basically. >> he is either a sleaze ball or didn't know him. i don't know how kit be both. he is a sleaze ball i didn't know.
and when he resigned from the port authority back last winter, you know, in december, chris christie said he had done -- this guy he didn't know and who is a sleaze ball, he had done a terrific job, did an excellent job as a public servant. i think what this shows, number one, is that we're in for the long haul here. that christie and his entourage are preparing for hand-to-hand combat, and they're basically trying to send a signal to everybody who was in his administration who still might be in his administration that if you flip, if you try to go to the other side, we're going to come after you. i don't think he did it very effectively here. this is like going after somebody with a nerf gun. if we're saying we're going to go after your high school social studies record. but that's the message he was trying to send here. >> kendall coffey, thanks for joining us. as a legal method, it smart to go after this guy and say we're going after your whatever, even when you're a teenager, we're going after you because this is the game you're playing, because
you've dared to talk about there being evidence against the governor, we're going to destroy you. it seems like that's the strategy. >> i don't think it's much of a legal strategy. first of all, prosecutors were thinking about whether or not to grant immunity to a particular witness. they know about this kind of stuff already. and by the way, prosecutors deal with witnesses, cooperating witnesses all the time who have got more baggage than pond scum. that makes somebody like david wildstein look like a saint. so that's not a message to prosecutors. and it's irrelevant in a court of law. but here is where the message might get some traction. is it going to keep somebody from cooperating with the government if they are facing potential criminal charges? no. if you got really serious things like jail time to worry about, you're not going to care too much about getting embarrassed, even publicly. but there is a category of accusations that they don't want made publicly. and wildstein was the first one to come out publicly. so at least this part of the message might register.
if you step up and publicly accuse chris christie of anything, get ready. you throw any mud at all, and you are going to get buried in a mudslide. >> let's go back to this question of this weekend, because it sets up this whole mud throwing that the christie operation put us through the last 48 hours. it seems to me what bugged them was this statement coming out of wildstein that said basically, the governor has contradicted himself. he said he didn't know about this thing until afterwards. we got evidence. but instead of denying that, the christie operation put out the statement we didn't know about it before. >> yes. >> they didn't deny they knew about it during until a more recent statement, then they did it again. this seems to be a real problem on the governor's part. they don't know where to draw the line of defense. they say they didn't know about it afterwards. they admit everybody knew about it afterwards. did they know about it during? that's a little murky. and they seem to go back to occasionally we didn't know about it before. there are other bits of evidence
people saying they talked to his lawyer during the time of the november, and that must have gotten to him. leading indicators that probably he did get the word, but we don't know for sure. >> they're trying to draw the line, chris. the christie camp is trying to draw the line at the first public notice of the event. in other words, "the bergen record" story, the first public knowledge of it. >> right. >> and what wildstein did implicitly is to threaten that narrative by saying that there is evidence that chris christie knew about it right at the time it was beginning to happen. this took place over a four-day period. >> what do you think it says? the christie people say he doesn't have it in his hand. it just exists. >> the christie people made a big deal out of the fact that "the new york times" tweaked its story between the online version and the print version. in the online version, it says he has the evidence, wildstein has the evidence. but once the lawyer's letter came out, it distanced it. there is a legal reason for that.
if wildstein had said i've got the piece of party here, then the prosecutors and investigators go after that piece of paper. they go after that. >> without a deal. >> without a deal. right. so now that evidence is going to be a little harder to find. correct me if i'm wrong. >> sound right to you, kendall, what is going on here is the negotiation that could be the john dean, the star witness. >> i think he has nailed it. he is shopping himself as a cooperating witness. so he doesn't want to say i'm holding it in my hand, just as you described. he is saying maybe i can find it for you but we better talk and i need a deal. >> here is where we're talking about it here. it only took about 24 hours before christie's operation -- this is the thing that comes out of politics. daniel patrick moynihan once said when there is a call from the white house. there is no such thing as the white house. the building doesn't talk. who is calling me? christie's operation peddled out this apparently under the e-mail of collin reed, his deputy
communications director, but it's from the office. why is he still playing the man behind the curtain, like he did, who knows if he did behind bridget kelly's operation? who is speaking for the governor here? anyway, it's back to wildstein's explosive letter on friday that there was evidence proving that the governor lied. well, christie's retribution came in the form of a memo as i said to his closest supporters put out by his weekend which has been obtained by nbc news as well as other news organization. it goes as far as to dig up dirt to go back to wildstein's days as a high school student in livingston jersey. it's quite a bully letter. playing a portion of it. in david wildstein's past, newspaper accounts have described him as tumultuous, and someone who made moves that were not productive. ooh, that's terrible. i think i've been unproductive in my life. as a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a local school board. he was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior. he had a controversial tenure as
mayor of governor. governor, you're controversial. he had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people's names without telling them. kendall, this is trash talk. it's like throwing everything you can and see if it sticks to the wall. but boy, it shows desperation. it says the governor doesn't want to talk about the facts. he wants to talk about the personalities of the people, their past. when he subsequently names this guy he created on the port authority, the bridge commission. it happened subsequent to that. now he is going back to the past and saying don't believe this guy. >> and that's why i keep thinking that he knows better than to think this is going to impress prosecutors. it's certainly not going impress the media who like you totally gets the hypocrisy of this. all the stuff is old news, small news, and all that was known to the christie administration approved his appointment to the port authority before they praised him just a few months ago. >> but is this -- is this preventative defense?
that's not the perfect metaphor given the name of the game, football. but is this an attempt to smear someone's testimony like he said bridget kelly is a liar. okay, i get it. don't believe her testimony. is this what he is doing? he is dirtying up the jury pool, if you will? >> perhaps. but also, sending this message to anybody else, because nobody wants their 16-year-old exploits or nonexploits talked about. nobody wants to be embarrassed, even on kind of silly stuff as you point out, very, very implausible stuff. so what he is saying pure and simple, if anybody else steps up publicly, here it comes. you better be absolutely pristine and pure, noble and virtuous for all the last 30 or 40 years of your life. and, yeah, it seems like retaliation. perhaps some would say bullying. but perhaps somebody is thinking that being accused of bullying is bad, but maybe there are other accusations you're trying to avoid being made publicly
that could be a lot worse. >> christine renna just quit today. she is one of the people who works for bridget kelly who said there is word coming from ft. lee they think this is political retribution. >> she has been thinking of retiring for months. >> you know what i find fascinating? i always say this in politics where there is charges of criminality or bad behavior. who is in the room with you. you want to know, when bill clinton was in trouble, who did he call on for help? that lifeline person is fascinating. who is in the room with chris christie now? i assume his wife who can't testify. his attorney has lawyer-client privilege. i get to kendall with this. you studied law. is there somebody in the room he is careful to talk to now and know they won't rat him out two months in a courtroom? >> i think actually there may be some people who he might otherwise be talking to who might have advised him not to send this thing out, because if you're going to go after somebody, you got to really go
after them with something more than just the high school social studies teacher, okay. so somebody like david samson, who is a premier lawyer in new jersey. >> and then made chair of the port authority. >> made chair of the port authority who is by all accounts considered a really top shelf tough guy lawyer in the state. i'm not sure that christie risks or that david samson risks the kind of heart to heart discussions that they might have used to have over legal issues. this thing that came out over the weekend has all the earmarks to me of chris christie with his deputy press secretary saying let's -- >> trash them. >> darn it, they screwed up my super bowl. i'm not going to get on fox. let's fire a shot across their bow. it's childish. the whole thing is childish. >> kendall, is this like in basketball you have to foul the other team to get the ball back? he had a bad weekend going. let's be honest about this. "the new york times" had the facts on him based upon wildstein's statement that he
had real contradiction in denying he knew about this during the time it was happening. it comes out he does apparently know about it. at least that's the accusation. so that is "the new york times." he must figure i can't fight "the new york times" unless i've got some trash to throw out the window. he throws out the window at wildstein. what is the strategy here? i guess we have to end with that, but i don't know the answer, except i'm desperate. your thoughts, kendall? >> very frustrated and embattled decision-making process that is not in high gear and not at its best. >> i think you're right. this isn't the a team. the a team is taking the fifth. anyway, thank you, howard fineman. thank you, kendall coffey. howard, you're right, this ain't the smartest guys in the room advising him right now, because he can't talk to them on the record. coming up, it's looking more and like it's every man and woman for himself. looking increasingly, let's put it they're into a maverick mode right now. their top priority, protecting number one, and that ain't the governor. they're looking out by themselves. this is frightening. imagine christie all surrounded
with guys going to prison if they stick with him? christie was considered by many to be a top candidate for the presidential nomination. i thought he was the front-runner. now it look likes he is not just having a bad month, he may be headed for a bad career. also, we don't do media criticism here on "hardball," but president obama can and did. we'll do a postgame review of the president's pregame interview with fox's bill o'reilly the other day. that's sunday. and let me finish with the loss of a treasure of the american screen and stage. this is -- i don't like doing this. this is a loss, pure and simple, philip seymour hoffman. what a great. and that is "hardball," the place for politics.
governor chris christie is taking questions at this hour on a new jersey radio station. he is answering questions about the lane closures at the george washington bridge, and so far he hasn't said anything he hasn't said before. we're watching it, however. we'll be giving you an update a little later in the hour. we'll be right back with more.
welcome back to "hardball." today is the day subpoenas issued by the new jersey special legislative committee investigating the bridge closures are due in. and you'll recall they went out to 20 people and organizations related to governor chris christie himself. many have received extensions. but as the investigation churns forward, it's becoming clear that it may be every man or woman for himself or herself. david wildstein, it's crystal clear after friday's letter from his lawyer wildstein wants immunity, and he is looking out for david wildstein, number one. bill stepien nearly lost in the wash of wildstein news on friday is what is happening with christie's former campaign manager. christie severed ties because he says he lost faith in his judgment following bridge-related e-mails following the bridge scandal. his lawyer on friday requested that the legislative subpoena which seeks a wide array of documents from him including e-mails, well, he wants it withdrawn. bridget anne kelly.
in late january, the former deputy chief of staff who christie famously said he fired for lying to him changed lawyers. her original lawyer was known to be in governor christie's orbit. not the new one. joining me is loretta weinberg who was co-chair of the legislative select committee investigating the george washington lane closures, and bob ingle who writes about politics and is co-author of "chris christie: the inside story of his rise to power." when you're up there in jersey, imagine all these people out there lawyered up now, especially wildstein, and of course i imagine bridget kelly's got a top flight lawyer, and bill stepien. they're all trying to avoid trouble legally for themselves, which might include prison time. we don't know what the charges might be. but they're looking out for number one, whoever number one happens to be. my question to you, christie's reaction, we just talked about it in the last segment, what do you make of christie's reaction to that the way he trashed the high school behavior of
wildstein, who he subsequently in his adult years appointed to the bridge commission to the new york port authority. what does this smell like to you right now? >> i thought it was one of the most amateurish things i have ever seen in politics, chris. they're supposed to be really, really good at communications. everybody who heard about that was saying, gosh, what did i do when i was 16 and we don't want anybody to go back and find out what our history teacher thought about us. it really was beneath the office. >> and why is he doing it? is it just anger? stupid anger, we got to throw some crap up against the wall because this other story is beating us in the times? we got to throw something up or this momentum is going to get out of hand? why would you do something really stupid? >> it's really ill advised. i don't know. because i've been watching these people for years, and they have been very good at what they did this. is just completely out of line. it says desperation to me.
>> okay. let's go to the assemblywoman. i want to talk to loretta weinberg. ms. weinberg. let me ask you to react to this thing. this is probably the thing you're thinking about yourself because you're involved in this. governor christie is offered a multiple choice, if you will, as to responses when we first learned about the lane closures and what was going on generally up there. in his december 13th press conference, that's december, christie said he knew in october, quote, the first i ever heard about the issue was when it was reported in the press, which i think was in the aftermath of mr. -- the leak of mr. foye's e-mail. foye's e-mail leaked to "the wall street journal" on october 1. in a december 23rd interview, christie said he knew in september. let's listen here. >> well, i mean, i first heard about the lane closure back in september. >> yeah. >> you know, from press accounts. but, you know, this has kind of been an evolving thing there was no moment where i went oh, wow, look at this. >> it goes from october to september. now the governor christie's january 9th presser he said this.
>> what i can tell you is if people find that hard to believe, i don't know what else to say except to tell them that i had no knowledge of this, of the planning, the execution, or anything about it. and that i first found out about it after it was over. >> in his statement on friday, that's a couple of days ago, following the wildstein news, we got this. mr. wildstein's lawyer confirm what's the governor has said all along. he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened. and from a february 1 memo, quote, the governor first learned lanes at the george washington bridge were even closed from press accounts after the fact so. so settlement up, christie has said first he learned about the lane closures in october, in september after it was over, and when they happened. so senator, you talked to o'dell, his chief of staff in november, november 18th, i believe it was, and said i'm not going to let up on my probe here. so what do you make of the fact that in november you were talking -- what is it all tell
you about the timeline when he must have been aware. he is saying they didn't know about it until this press conference in january, all this stuff came out in january. when do you think he knew about it? >> okay. i can't conjecture when he knew about it. i can only tell you what i know. and that is after i read reports in the newspaper about the traffic jam around the 13th, 12th, 13th of september and started getting calls from constituents, on september 19th, i wrote a letter to commissioner pat schuber saying i was at a loss for words to explain this to the people i represent. i sent a copy of that letter to the governor and to the chair of the port authority, david samson. following that, having received no reply from any of the three aforementioned, on october 6th or 7th, i appeared at a
subcommittee meeting chaired by commissioner schuber of the port authority, a committee which i thought was appropriately named for me to appear before about ethics and governance. and i outlined what we had learned and what we had learned i believe about what was printed in the newspaper about pat foye's e-mail. it was at that meeting that i believe i said something to the effect, if we don't get answers here, i am going to go back and ask for subpoena power from the senate. i then appeared at the november meeting of the port authority, pardon me, at the full meeting of the port authority in october, again in november, and again in december. all of those meetings were covered quite widely in the press, that i was there, that i was asking questions. on november 18th, backtrack a
few weeks, i had a meeting with the governor's chief of staff, kevin o'dowd. it was a meeting about other legislative matters. and at the end of the meeting when we concluded the legislative business, i don't even know why i did it or why i said it, but i stood up and as i was leaving the office, i said to him, please tell the governor i am not backing off on this issue, and i plan to continue pressing for answers. that was november 18th. and then of course on november 25th is when bill baroni came forward to the assembly transportation committee, not under subpoena, not under oath with his as we call it his once upon a time story. but as i was listening to you earlier, i was trying to think about what from my high school days i should confess publicly right now, and i think by the
way, i remember that i was actually caught smoking a cigarette, a nicotine cigarette along with a group of other students on the front lawn of the high school. so i'm confessing on national tv. >> a nicotine cigarette. aren't you a careful politician. >> well, i wanted to make that clear. >> i think it's great. i think it's nice that you did that. >> and i don't smoke anymore. >> well, you're good. bob, let me ask you, bob. you're not running for anything. let me ask you, bob. >> nope. >> this is the heart of this story, what the senator was just talking about in great detail. the heart of the story is are we willing to believe as sentient human beings who follow politics that the governor of new jersey, the hottest pol in the country for the last three or four months who is clearly running for president maybe still today was certainly running back in september when this bridge thing happened, wasn't aware that the main traffic artery through his state to new york was held up for five days for four to five hours a day and did not know he was at odds with the mayor of that city who was affected, and did not at some point at the water cooler, over a beer, some
time driving to work, coming home from work, and some time to either bridget or david wildstein or bill stepien, his campaign manager, never said or asked what the hell is going on with that bridge. and if he didn't ask that, why didn't he ask that except that he knew exactly what was going on there and wanted to keep his hands clean. your thoughts. isn't that the way to look at this? we're to believe that none of these people being subpoenaed ever had a conversation in all those months with the governor? >> it's really hard to believe. >> and what about november? the state senator said she went to the chief of staff and said tell the governor this. apparently he never told him. your thoughts. >> it's really hard to believe that especially this governor, who tries to be on top of everything could have, as you said, the world's busiest bridge backed up and nobody would ask any questions about why it was going on. it is just really hard to believe that's the case. >> well, we'll see, because that's the question that still
looms before us, and looms before governor christie as he watches programs like this. thank you very much, state senator loretta weinberg. continue your good efforts. and thank you, bob ingle. continue your smartness. more on chris christie's future nationally, coming up, because this guy was the kingpin. now i'm reading that huckabee is number one. this is "hardball," the place for politics. i will light up every room i walk into. [ female announcer ] olay presents the new regenerist luminous collection. renews surface cells to even skin tone. in just two weeks, see pearlescent, luminous skin. new regenerist luminous.
welcome back to "hardball." time for the sideshow. while capitol police decided against pressing charges against new york republican congressman michael grimm for threatening a new york 1 reporter last week, he didn't escape the wrath of "snl." here is melissa mccarthy playing a freshman congressman with even more serious anger issues. >> and what about claims made by your ex-campaign manager that -- >> i'm here to talk about the planning committee and nothing else. >> but your constituents have a right -- >> we're done here.
>> so as you can see, the congresswoman is not interested in answering to these new damning accusations -- >> have you ever been thrown out a window, bro? because you know what? when i do it, i don't open the window first. you go down with the glass. >> at this point, kelly realized the camera was still on. >> that still on? >> but a passerby had started filming the altercation with his cell phone, and we can pick it up there. >> is that still on? is that still on! [ bleep ], yeah, you better run. i am freshman congresswoman sheila kelly and i am invincible! >> that's great. up next, forget about the presidency. chris christie is fighting now to save chris christie. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
however, he also said he didn't know it was an issue until some time in october. msnbc political analyst howard fineman is back with us, and we're joined now by clarence page of the chicago tribune. howard, i thought it was interesting. they didn't add anything we didn't know on the record already. >> no. but he is very carefully and selectively climb do you think off the dangerous perch he has been on. >> of i didn't know nothing. >> of i didn't know nothing. he is now saying, well, okay, it's possible that i heard about the lane closures after they began, which is september 9th. but i didn't know they were an issue. that's sort of the indirect way he is admitting that until the stories came out in the press about the complaints from the port authority. and that was october 1. so he has kind of moved the -- moved the awareness that he might have had back from october 1st to september 9th. and it's important for him to do that both for his public image and potentially for any liability. >> why it is important for his public image? >> well, it's important because
he was known as a straight-talking, straight-shooting guy. now his veracity city, his truthfulness -- >> and a hands-on guy. >> now it's been questioned. >> here he was moments ago. let's listen to the governor in his latest iteration of what he says happened. >> the most important issue is did i know anything about the plan to close these lanes? did i authorize it? did i know about it? did i approve it? did i have any knowledge of it beforehand? and the answer is still the same. it's unequivocally no. and, in fact, no one has ever accused me of that. and that's the thing that i think the people of new jersey care about the most. now, when did i first know about the lane closures? the fact is that the first time this really came into my consciousness as an issue was when pat foye, the executive director of the port authority's e-mail about this incident was leaked to the media and reported on.
and that was the first time they got a sense that there might be some issue here. >> well, that's the statement of fact, which we've already had in our hands before of public record. "the wall street journal" covered that pat foye memo that basically bought this issue to light october 1. he is not admitting anything new here. >> no. he is effectively trying to get things back to -- well, he is right now denying something of which as he points out he has not been accused, which is that he knew in advance. he was part of some kind of planning as if there was a conspiracy going on that he was involved in. and he said that's what the people really care about, and no, that's not what happened. but what people really care about is what did happen. and he is moving the goalpost back in the sense of now admitting that he knew there were traffic problems. he said we have traffic problems every day. this helps to somewhat restore his images as the hands-on governor. >> yeah, but let's go back by saying the four-hour traffic
stoppage, you just stopped the traffic on a major highway in this country going from state to state and you stop it, and for four or five days he doesn't know about it, he doesn't know there is somebody up to something here, he didn't smell trouble? that's always been my question, the strange lack of curiosity about what had the earmarks of mayhem here. >> and initially, the tone and the emphasis of what he said was hey, didn't know anything about this until i read about it in the paper. >> right. >> that's essentially what he said at the beginning. >> tonight. >> but what he is saying well, i didn't know about it as an issue. you got to listen to what politicians say where they allow themselves a trap door to escape through. that's what that phrase as an issue means. >> here is more for the governor tonight on his radio program. let's listen. >> i know prior to that that there were press accounts about traffic issues up there. and if someone, you know -- if i either read that or someone said to me about traffic issues up
there, it wouldn't have been meaningful to me because i didn't know that there was any problem up there. you know, because i didn't know that we had actually closed lanes up there before that. so my dispute is twofold. first, to make clear to everybody in the midst of, you know, all the things that were reported over the weekend that nobody has said that i knew anything about this before it happened. and i think that's the most important question. secondly, that when this first became an issue for me, because let's face it, there is traffic every day at the george washington bridge target, lincoln tunnel, at the holland tunnel. i hear those reports on the radio. we all hear about them. that's not something that rises to the gubernatorial level. >> here is the problem for the governor, to be credible here. through the whole legal and political process, all his people around him, stepien, his campaign manager at the time he is talking about it in the fall, his deputy chief of staff, the
person he put on the bridge authority, everybody is taking the fifth amendment. everybody now formally thinks they're in trouble. everybody is afraid of prosecution, perhaps afraid of prison. it's likely. and yet he says i didn't know anything about this thing. it's now almost at the edge of looks like a criminal offense here. and my question to you, clarence, is he credible? and that's the problem. he didn't know anything about it, but everybody else was involved and all around him were involved in it, but he didn't know anything about it and never asked. >> it sounded like a lot of smoke. he was saying on the one hand he knew there was traffic problems, but it didn't rise to the level of governor. a the same time, if it was that serious, why didn't he check into it? >> everybody in the governor's office thought it was at the level of the governor because they were doing it. thank you, howard fineman. thank you, clarence page. up next, president obama pushes back against the right wing canards about benghazi and the irs. that's ahead. this is "hardball," the place for politics. you need a bunch of those to clean this mess. then i'll use a bunch of them. then how is that a bargain? [ sighs ] no, that's too many --
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if former republican senator scott brown of massachusetts decides to run for senate in neighboring new hampshire, he's got a bit of an uphill battle. look at this. let's check the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new university of new hampshire poll, brown would trail and democratic senator jeanne shaheen by 10 point, 47 to 37. brown has been making noise about running in new hampshire, where he established residency after losing a senate race to liz warren in neighboring massachusetts. we'll be right back.
we're back. a lot of people were eager to see bill o'reilly interview president obama on fox last night before the super bowl. conservatives wanted to see the president forced to answer questions about right wing obsession -- benghazi, the irs, and of course health care reform. and obama supporters wanted to see him swat them back. both sides got what they wanted many believe. joy reid is managing editor the grio and soon to have her own show on msnbc at exactly 2:00 on msnbc. and zeke miller is a reporter with "time" magazine. here is the president responding to the right wing attack on benghazi. >> understand by definition, bill, when somebody is attack our compound.
>> yeah. >> that's an act of terror. >> more than that, because as susan rice goes out and tells the world that it was a spontaneous demonstration off a videotape, but your commanders and the secretary of defense know it's a terror attack. >> bill, bill -- >> just as an american, i'm confused. >> bill, i've gone through this. and we have had multiple hearing on it. what happens is you have an attack like this taking place, and you have a mix of folks who are just troublemakers, you have folks who have an ideological agenda. >> all right. you have some who are affiliated with terrorist organizations. you some who are not. but the main thing that all of us have to take away from this is our diplomats are serving in some very dangerous places. >> your detractors believe you did not tell the world it was terror attack because your campaign didn't want that out. >> bill, think about -- >> that's what they believe. >> and they believe it because folks like you are telling them that. >> no, i'm not. >> beyond what the president said there which is true, the bipartisan senate intelligence committee report released last month said the attacks were likely to be put together in
short order following protests in cairo over a video coming out of los angeles. inoculates susan rice from criticism for saying just that on sunday morning television on "meet the press." rice had it correct after all. this is my problem, joy, with that interview, and the questioning from o'reilly. i'm not a media critic. but the information is out there that susan rice told the truth. it was spontaneous attack on our facility in benghazi. it did come as a kind of copycat that what was happening on all the airwaves in cairo, which was the attack there's were in response, apparently, to the video, the crazy right wing video that came out of los angeles. so it was right. she got it right, susan rice. why is the president not just blasting it back at the guy and saying o'reilly, catch up? >> you know what? that's a good question as to the president's response. because i do think that what bill o'reilly was doing was sort of reheating all of the right wing means, all of the obsessions that the right has. he might as well have asked
about his birth certificate while he was at it. this was not an interview about current events. this was an interview about conspiracy theories held by many on the right and it was not about the 100 million people there to watch the super bowl, it was a much narrower audience three or four million people who really wanted to see combat, who wanted to see the president put in his place, who wanted to see bill o'reilly do what they viscerally want to do themselves, which was scold, interrogatory, and force the president back on his heels. now, the president did continually try when he could get a word in edgewise to say these are questions that have been answered game. audience doesn't want to hear that they don't want the answer. they want the conspiracy. >> president obama also addressed suspicions from the right about the administration dealing with the irs to target conservative groups, they say. was there corruption? that was o'reilly. that was the word he used. and here is the president's response to that one. we'll get zeke's reaction. >> some people are saying is that the irs was used.
>> yeah. >> at a local level in cincinnati, maybe other places to go after them. i mean, these kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part because you and your tv station will promote them. >> you're saying no corruption? >> no. >> none? >> no, there was some boneheaded decisions. >> bonehead decisions. but no mass corruption? >> not even mass corruption. not even a smidgen of corruption. >> i don't know about this. i guess the president had to do the interview. o'reilly had to do what he did. everybody does what they have to do. what did we learn from this? >> not much. what this is is an exercise for the right to get those questions into the president. and exercise on the left in sort of watching the president sort of bat back at fox news who they accuse of being, you know, and sort of the right wing conspiracy theories in a bunch of cases here. so everybody got what they wanted. it was great entertainment. great tv. in terms of what this means for president going forward, you saw
an exercise in the white house frustration with these -- >> i'll go back to joy. joy, you know, david petraeus took out the phrase al qaeda from the cia talking points. why doesn't the president say this is bs, this stuff came from the authorities we all trust especially david petraeus, much respected on the right. why doesn't he say that instead of getting into a kerfuffle with this guy? o'reilly was able to raise issues which you know is the name of the game if politics as long as you get benghazi in the headlines, you win. that's what i think. >> i don't think it would have mattered what president obama said quite honestly. this was not about a broad audience that had come to a nonpartisan event to watch a football game. this was about a very narrow base that bill o'reilly was placating with this interview. it wasn't about the audience watching it in realtime. it was about the audience that was going to watch it back later on his show, the cable show. remember, this was on the
broadcast network going to the fox groups, going to the stations in ordinary citizens where people were really coming to the broadcast apolitically. this wasn't about a broad audience on independents or people -- bill o'reilly claims to be an independent. this was about a narrow targeted audience who doesn't want the answer and wouldn't accept any answer no matter what the president says. >> when we start polling on this in a couple weeks, i bet you o'reilly wins because he gets the words out. >> exactly. >> he gets benghazi. thank you. when we return, let me finish with the loss of an american classic. heard about prs "name your price" tool? i guess you can tell them how much you want to pay and it gives you a range of options to choose from. huh? i'm looking at it right now. oh, yeah? yeah. what's the... guest room situation?
let me end with this tonight. nothing i could say here will lessen the loss of the 46-year-old philip seymour hoffman, the greatest actor of his generation. i say perhaps because there are so many great actors today. cate blanchett, naomi watts, christian bale, all in their 40s. now there's one less. a brilliant actor whose life ended this weekend in a west village apartment. i don't know how i'll look at these scenes now that he is no more, that there is no more philip seymour hoffman. i knew when i saw his portrayal in "mr. ripley" this young actor was capable of the terrifying
menace of the person who an see right into you, unclothing your deepest secret, the fraud in you. here he is doing this to matt damon's "mr. ripley." >> the only one who looks like dickey is you. >> hardly. >> have you done something to your hair? >> is there something you'd like to say, freddy? >> what? >> do you have something you'd like to say? >> i think i'm saying it. >> in "charlie wilson's war," he's a nonconformist that the higher ups can't see, guy who truly knows how to spy. >> did crystal back up your story that you weren't using? >> just go put out the statement. >> you know what? you never should have been in the same room, congressman. >> goth? >> yeah? >> the swiss make an anti-aircraft gun.
>> listen, charlie -- >> .20 millimeter cannon. i read about it. >> i know it. don't forget the limo driver. >> what do you mean? >> you took a limo from the casino to the airport. it's easy to track down a limo driver, ask if anything was going on the back seat. terms of cleaning up this. >> were you listening at the door? >> i was listening at the door. >> were you standing at the [ bleep ] door listening to me? that's a thick door. you stood there and listened to me? >> don't be an idiot. i bugged the scotch bottle. >> what? >> it's got a little transmitter on it. got a thing in my ear. get past it. >> then about the catholic priest accused by a sister superior of abusing an older boy. see hoffman in the film and root for either verdict, but there's so much more or less to the priest he is playing. >> you have to stop this campaign against me. >> you can stop it. at any time. >> how? >> confess. and resign. >> you are attempting to destroy my reputation.
>> you keep opening my window. what are you doing in this school? >> i'm trying to do good. >> even more to the point. what are you doing in the priesthood? >> you are single handedly holding this school and this parish back. >> from what? >> progressive education and a welcoming church. >> you can't distract me, father. this is not about my behavior. >> it's about your unfounded suspicions. >> that's right. >> just leave that. it's not important. >> i will decide what's important. >> i've seen him in "money ball" as the old-style baseball manager. "the eyes of march." and truman capote refusing to play at camp but showing the corners of great troubled writer's character. i prefer to remember him as the character of freddy out front, him the actor in the back, wondering what it was like to be
mr. ripley, with truth invading his soul and knowing he must confront and defeat this menace or fall before it. philip seymour hoffman, the best of the best. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. for the first time in 3 1/2 weeks, governor chris christie has spoken publicly about bridge-gate in an hour-long radio appearance that concluded just minutes ago. >> so let's talk about some of the new developments that have been going on, and i want to talk a little bit about david wildstein as we open up this program. your former appointee to the port authority claimed through his lawyer that he's got evidence to show that you knew about the lane closings in ft. lee while they were happening. your office put out a pretty strong response to alan zegas' letter.